Annual Update 2009 - Relationships Docket

Document Date: July 20, 2009

> Annual Update 2009 – Relationships
> Strauss v. Horton – Case Profile
> Levitt & Dakota v. New Mexico Retiree Health Authority – Case Profile
> Advocacy Encourages H&R Block to Accommodate Gay Couples in Civil Unions


Litigated marriage cases

California: Before state supreme court, won marriage for same-sex couples and constitutional protection for gay people as highly vulnerable minority, as part of legal coalition

California: With legal allies, filed challenge to Proposition 8 before state high court and defense of 18,000 same-sex married couples

Connecticut: With GLAD, won marriage for gay couples in state high court

Iowa: Filed amicus brief in marriage litigation before state high court

New York: Successfully pursued groundbreaking cases compelling the state to recognize same-sex marriages validly entered into elsewhere

Rhode Island: Filed amicus brief in supreme court, arguing that gay couple married in Massachusetts should be able to get a divorce in Rhode Island; lost by three-to-two margin

Fought against discriminatory marriage constitutional amendments and similar measures

Arizona: Worked within Arizona LGBT alliance against anti-gay marriage ballot initiative

California: Raised more than $2.5 million for No on 8 campaign; did extensive field organizing; with allies, litigated successfully over official title and summary of Prop 8

Delaware: Succeeded in stopping legislation providing for a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages and any status similar to marriage

Florida: Raised about $215,000 for fight against Amendment 2; did field organizing; found couples with compelling stories for communications effort

Iowa: Lobbied legislature to prevent anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment from passing

Maine: Helped turn back Christian Civic League’s petition drive for legislation to ban marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, adoption, gay student groups, and civil rights protections for LGBT Mainers

Michigan: Before state high court, lost challenge to Michigan’s anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment which has been used against domestic partnerships

Oregon: Filed amicus brief in Court of Appeals, seeking to invalidate marriage constitutional amendment (unsuccessful)

Pennsylvania: Succeeded in tabling bill providing for constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages and other legal recognition; organized phone banks, regional educational events, rallies, and legislative meetings

Puerto Rico: Worked in coalition in successful effort to defeat legislative attempt for a referendum on marriage

Organized and advocated for marriage bills and other related legislation

Maine: Launched field organizing and public education campaign for marriage equality in coalition with Equality Maine, Maine Women’s Lobby, and GLAD

Maryland: Developed grassroots outreach and built legislative support for marriage equality legislation; teamed with civil rights activists to launch Maryland Black Family Alliance, a group of straight and supportive African- American leaders

Massachusetts: Helped repeal 1913 law which had been used to bar outof- state gay couples from getting married in this state

New Jersey: Testified before legislative commission on failures of civil union law

New York: Did grassroots organizing and legislative visits in critical districts for Marriage Fairness Act

Rhode Island: Worked for passage of legislation providing for divorce for gay couples married elsewhere; got removed from state budget authorization to apply for federal funding for “healthy” marriage programs that often have decidedly unhealthy perspectives on marriage

Vermont: Helped persuade Commission on Family Recognition and Protection to issue report advising that Vermont is ready to make transition from civil unions to marriage

Civil Unions

Advocated for equal treatment of couples in civil unions

Connecticut: Persuaded H & R Block (nationwide) to charge the same tax preparation fees for civil union couples as it does for married couples

Idaho/New Jersey: Championed the plight of Konica Minolta employee whose New Jersey-registered domestic partner lost his health coverage when employee was transferred to Idaho

New Jersey: Represented two lesbian couples whose applications to rent an outdoor pavilion, often used for weddings, for their civil union ceremonies were rejected; helped stop pavilion’s attempt to thwart state investigation and successfully lobbied to discontinue pavilion’s tax-free status

Vermont/Virginia: Helped persuade Virginia Supreme Court to rule that the state must honor a child custody order from a Vermont court issued after a civil union breakup

Worked for passage of civil union legislation

Hawaii: Did not succeed but bill was revised this year

Illinois: Organized in key legislative districts; lobbied House members; provided legal analysis to legislators (bill pending)

New Mexico: Did extensive field organizing and public education in support of comprehensive statewide domestic partnership legislation

Washington: Bill granting to gay couples over 170 rights and responsibilities once reserved for married couples passed and signed

Domestic Partnerships

Advocated/litigated for equal treatment of domestic partners

Georgia: Got Commissioner of Insurance to back down from his decision to reject the application of a gay man for health insurance through a state plan to help the uninsured because his previous health insurance coverage was as a domestic partner

Minnesota: Filed amicus brief in appellate court on case against a health club that has refused to extend family discount policy to lesbian couple

New Mexico: Continued litigating case against state for health benefits for domestic partners of state retirees

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.